Last week I wrote about the Supreme Court’s ongoing destruction of campaign finance laws. This week’s most striking story concerned why such laws are necessary and should be expanded rather than struck down: A research paper by two political scientists examined 1,779 separate political disputes between 1981 and 2002 (before John Roberts began his defense of rich people’s right to buy influence), compared them to measures of public opinion broken down by income, and concluded that ordinary voters get their way only when they happen to agree with either the rich or with organized interest groups (especially business interest groups). “Clearly, when one holds constant net interest group alignments and the preferences of affluent Americans, it makes very little difference what the general public thinks.” The paper described the American political system with a particularly telling phrase that gives this week’s first featured article its title: “Democracy by Coincidence”.
The other story that struck me this week was the armed mob that successfully defended the cattle of freeloader and public-land-abuser Cliven Bundy from government seizure. Bundy and his defenders put forward many ideas that sound like high-minded principles, but it is hard to imagine a situation where those principles would apply to anyone other than People Like Us. (Didn’t Occupy Wall Street claim a right to use public land? Did the militia movement rush to their defense?) And mainstream conservative pundits are somehow unable to separate themselves from this radical, violent fringe of the conservative movement. I’ll have a second featured article about that, but I haven’t titled it yet.
The weekly summary will discuss the marathon-bombing anniversary, developments in Ukraine, Kansas parents trying to stop the First Lady from speaking at their kids’ graduation, and a few other short notes, before closing with video of two amazing new vehicles that don’t need a lot of fossil fuel.
As a wild guess, expect “Democracy By Coincidence” between 9 and 10 (Eastern), and the Bundy article before noon, with the weekly summary coming a little bit later.